Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

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Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby Nyana » Wed Apr 20, 2011 6:55 am

In The Development of Insight Patrick Kearney states:

    In practice, what happens is that the meditator is practicing, every aspect of his meditation is subtle, clear and bright, and then suddenly there is a sense of falling-into (knowledge of insight leading to emergence) and then the lights go out. There is a momentary sense of nothingness, and then the lights come on. If the meditator checks the watch, he realises some time has passed - depending on the strength of his concentration, this could be anything from a few minutes to a few days and he has "awoken" suddenly into a situation in which the practice is continuing, but the experience is much less subtle than before. The meditator is now in the knowledge of arising and passing away (udayabbaya-nana).

    What happened? Has he fallen asleep? No, because of the suddenness and clarity of the beginning and end of the experience of unconsciousness, and because there has been absolutely no physical movement. What the meditator has experienced is the total cessation of the mind-body process. He did not "know" this while it was happening., because there was no sense of a mind to know it. [Emphasis added.]

Unfortunately, what Kearney is advocating here as the noble path and fruition of stream-entry is actually just a non-percipient attainment (asaññasamāpatti). A non-percipient attainment is a state devoid of perception entered by worldlings who mistakenly attempt to realize nibbāna by stopping perception and stopping the mind. In the Theravāda commentaries it is considered to be non-Buddhist, and dying while experiencing such a state is said to result in rebirth as a non-percipient, unconscious being (asaññasatta) without any functional mind or mental faculties. It is also considered to be an inappropriate and inopportune plane (akkhaṇa bhūmi), because there is no possibility of practicing dhamma either within the non-perceptive absorption or as a non-percipient being reborn in such a realm. Both as a practice and a saṃsāric realm it arrests any possibility for mental development (bhāvanā).

This mindless, unconscious path that Kearney is advocating does not represent the teachings of the Pāḷi Dhamma. The Pāḷi Tipiṭaka explicitly states that the noble path and fruition cognitions must include perception (saññā). Therefore this notion of the noble paths and fruitions being devoid of perception is not the Pāḷi dhamma. It is the teaching of a deficient vehicle (hīnayāna) which should be avoided.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:16 am

Greetings,

If I want to be an asaññasatta, I'll go for a nap.

:zzz:

Will I be enlightened when I awake?

:shock:

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:18 am

Ñāṇa wrote:Unfortunately, what Kearney is advocating here as the noble path and fruition of stream-entry is actually just a non-percipient attainment (asaññasamāpatti). A non-percipient attainment is a state devoid of perception entered by worldlings who mistakenly attempt to realize nibbāna by stopping perception and stopping the mind. In the Theravāda commentaries it is considered to be non-Buddhist,
The question I have, is this non-percipient attainment as an ariyan state something Ledi Sayadaw or Mahasi Sayadaw taught? i have not seen any evidence that they have, but then I haVe read everythig they have written.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby Ben » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:19 am

That's a pretty damning assessment, Geoff. Do you have any support for your contention?
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:22 am

Greetings,

Ben wrote:Do you have any support for your contention?

Something that validates the following statement would be a good place to start...

Nana wrote:The Pāḷi Tipiṭaka explicitly states that the noble path and fruition cognitions must include perception (saññā).

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby cooran » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:30 am

Hello Ñāṇa,

I have practised with Patrick for years beginning while he was teaching Pali on staff in Buddhist Studies at the University of Queensland with Dr. Primoz Pecenko, and onwards when he was guiding teacher at the Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre.
Lost contact for a while but then reconnected when I was at the 4th Global Conference on Buddhism and he was one of the invited Guest speakers.
I will be attending two consecutive retreats with him in May this year, and am looking forward to it immensely.

Rather than starting a thread on DhammaWheel, why don’t you simply contact Patrick and discuss your perceptions/reservations with him?
He always teaches and publishes under his real name, and can be contacted at the following sites:
His website is: http://www.dharmasalon.net/home.html
And he can be emailed at: webmaster@dharmasalon.net

with metta
Chris
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Re: Patrick Kearney is not teaching the Pāḷi Dhamma

Postby Freawaru » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:34 am

Ñāṇa wrote:In The Development of Insight Patrick Kearney states:

    In practice, what happens is that the meditator is practicing, every aspect of his meditation is subtle, clear and bright, and then suddenly there is a sense of falling-into (knowledge of insight leading to emergence) and then the lights go out. There is a momentary sense of nothingness, and then the lights come on. If the meditator checks the watch, he realises some time has passed - depending on the strength of his concentration, this could be anything from a few minutes to a few days and he has "awoken" suddenly into a situation in which the practice is continuing, but the experience is much less subtle than before. The meditator is now in the knowledge of arising and passing away (udayabbaya-nana).

    What happened? Has he fallen asleep?

    [/i][/b] and because there has been absolutely no physical movement. What the meditator has experienced is the total cessation of the mind-body process. He did not "know" this while it was happening., because there was no sense of a mind to know it. [Emphasis added.]

Unfortunately, what Kearney is advocating here as the noble path and fruition of stream-entry is actually just a non-percipient attainment (asaññasamāpatti). A non-percipient attainment is a state devoid of perception entered by worldlings who mistakenly attempt to realize nibbāna by stopping perception and stopping the mind. In the Theravāda commentaries it is considered to be non-Buddhist, and dying while experiencing such a state is said to result in rebirth as a non-percipient, unconscious being (asaññasatta) without any functional mind or mental faculties. It is also considered to be an inappropriate and inopportune plane (akkhaṇa bhūmi), because there is no possibility of practicing dhamma either within the non-perceptive absorption or as a non-percipient being reborn in such a realm. Both as a practice and a saṃsāric realm it arrests any possibility for mental development (bhāvanā).

This mindless, unconscious path that Kearney is advocating does not represent the teachings of the Pāḷi Dhamma. The Pāḷi Tipiṭaka explicitly states that the noble path and fruition cognitions must include perception (saññā). Therefore this notion of the noble paths and fruitions being devoid of perception is not the Pāḷi dhamma. It is the teaching of a deficient vehicle (hīnayāna) which should be avoided.

All the best,

Geoff


Hi Geoff,

I disagree with both of you. IMO, what is described by Kearney is neither an entrance into the noble path and fruition of stream-entry, nor an non-Buddhist experience.

The reason are these two descriptions:

He did not "know" this while it was happening.


This, IMO, should not happen at stream-entry. "Direct knowing" is one of the most important characteristics of a trainee as described in the
MN 1: Mūlapariyāyasutta - Discourse on the Root Sequence http://www.dhammavinaya.com/sutta/mn/1.html .

However, I disagree with your opinion, too, as after this experience sati (mindfulness) is described as

No, because of the suddenness and clarity of the beginning and end of the experience of [b][i]unconsciousness,


Sati reestablished itself automatically after the experience, no need to practice a technique for it. Very useful for the dhamma.
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:38 am

tiltbillings wrote:The question I have, is this non-percipient attainment as an ariyan state something Ledi Sayadaw or Mahasi Sayadaw taught? i have not seen any evidence that they have, but then I haVe read everythig they have written.

Sayadaw Mahasi on Insight Knowledges http://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Progress/progress.html

I don't see any "going to sleep" there...

Since the Kearney extract is about the later knowledges, not the "tender arising and passing away" he is presumably referring to a stage such as:
14. Maturity Knowledge

Immediately afterwards, a type of knowledge manifests itself that, as it were, falls for the first time into Nibbāna, which is void of formations (conditioned phenomena) since it is the cessation of them. This knowledge is called "maturity knowledge."


:anjali:
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Apr 20, 2011 7:42 am

mikenz66 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The question I have, is this non-percipient attainment as an ariyan state something Ledi Sayadaw or Mahasi Sayadaw taught? i have not seen any evidence that they have, but then I haVe read everythig they have written.

Sayadaw Mahasi on Insight Knowledges http://aimwell.org/Books/Mahasi/Progress/progress.html

I don't see any "going to sleep" there...

Since the Kearney extract is about the later knowledges, not the "tender arising and passing away" he is presumably referring to a stage such as:
14. Maturity Knowledge

Immediately afterwards, a type of knowledge manifests itself that, as it were, falls for the first time into Nibbāna, which is void of formations (conditioned phenomena) since it is the cessation of them. This knowledge is called "maturity knowledge."


:anjali:
Mike
And that footnoted:
Gotrabhū-ñāna (maturity knowledge) is, literally, the "knowledge of one who has become one of the lineage (gotra)." By attaining to that knowledge, one has left behind the designation and stage of an unliberated worldling and is entering the lineage and rank of the noble ones, i.e. the stream-enterer, etc. Insight has now come to full maturity, maturing into the knowledge of the supramundane paths and fruitions. Maturity knowledge occurs only as a single moment of consciousness; it does not recur, since it is immediately followed by the path consciousness of stream-entry or once-returning, etc.
No going to sleep there, either.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby Nyana » Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:48 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Ben wrote:Do you have any support for your contention?

Something that validates the following statement would be a good place to start...

Nana wrote:The Pāḷi Tipiṭaka explicitly states that the noble path and fruition cognitions must include perception (saññā).


There is no possibility of entering a noble path or noble fruition without the presence of the path and fruition consciousness pertaining to that noble path and fruition. Moreover, the noble paths and fruitions are only entered through the attainment of supramundane jhāna. The Dhammasaṅgaṇī Cittuppādakaṇḍa Lokuttarakusala Suddhikapaṭipadā explains the supramundane dhammas occurring at the time of attaining the noble path via supramundane jhāna and abiding in that path attainment via resultant supramundane jhāna. It explicitly states that the jhāna factors must be present; the faculties of faith, energy, mindfulness, meditative composure, and discernment must be present; and perception must be present in each case. Without the presence of these dhammas there can be no noble path or fruition. The Paṭisambhidāmagga Ñāṇakathā can only be correctly understood with reference to the Dhammasaṅgaṇī Cittuppādakaṇḍa Lokuttarakusala Suddhikapaṭipadā. Ven. Ñāṇārāma has correctly understood that the supramundane path-consciousness of stream-entry is supramundane jhāna which must include the presence of the jhāna factors, and so on. In his Seven Stages of Purification & the Insight Knowledges he states:

    At whatever moment he attains the supramundane path, that path-consciousness comes to be reckoned as a jhāna in itself, since it has some affinity with the factors proper to jhānas, such as the first jhāna. What are known as transcendental meditations in Buddhism are these supramundane levels of concentration within the reach of the pure insight meditator.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:54 am

Greetings Geoff,

But what about instances in the Sutta Pitaka, where people attain to path (if not fruit) whilst listening to the Buddha's discourses?

(Sorry if that doesn't seem directly connected to this "no perception" issue, but if such sources cannot appropriately account for what is in the sutta, that would be a big dint in their credibility - i.e. "Moreover, the noble paths and fruitions are only entered through the attainment of supramundane jhāna")

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Patrick Kearney is not teaching the Pāḷi Dhamma

Postby Nyana » Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:58 am

cooran wrote:I have practised with Patrick for years beginning while he was teaching Pali on staff in Buddhist Studies at the University of Queensland with Dr. Primoz Pecenko, and onwards when he was guiding teacher at the Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre.

Which makes what he is teaching all the more disconcerting really.

cooran wrote:Rather than starting a thread on DhammaWheel, why don’t you simply contact Patrick and discuss your perceptions/reservations with him?

Kearney is free to teach whatever he wants, and you're free to follow what he's teaching. I have no interest in following what he is advocating. According to DN 16 anyone following the Buddha's dispensation should reject any teaching by any teacher which are not in accord with the dhammavinaya:

    In such a case, bhikkhus, the declaration of such a bhikkhu is neither to be received with approval nor with scorn. Without approval and without scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word, one should trace them in the Discourses and verify them by the Discipline. If they are neither traceable in the Discourses nor verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is not the Blessed One's utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it.

It's time to begin stating things for what they are. We have people here on Dhamma Wheel advocating exactly this sort of unconscious attainment that is being taught by Kearney as the noble path. This represents a significant misunderstanding of the Pāḷi dhamma. Following this sort of teaching could result in rebirth as an unconscious being, thus seriously retarding one's development of the path.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby Nyana » Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:10 am

retrofuturist wrote:But what about instances in the Sutta Pitaka, where people attain to path (if not fruit) whilst listening to the Buddha's discourses?

The point to be kept in mind is that they were listening to the discourse and fully percipient at the time.

retrofuturist wrote:(Sorry if that doesn't seem directly connected to this "no perception" issue, but if such sources cannot appropriately account for what is in the sutta, that would be a big dint in their credibility - i.e. "Moreover, the noble paths and fruitions are only entered through the attainment of supramundane jhāna")

The Dhammasaṅgaṇī presents the path factors which occur at the time of entering a noble path or fruition. There is nothing barring this from happening when someone was listening to the Buddha teach. But for those of us who weren't there when the Buddha was teaching, it's important to understand what the compilers of the Pāḷi Tipiṭaka considered to be important and necessary dhammas which must be present and functional for attainment of the noble path. In short, there can be no path without perception.

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby daverupa » Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:26 am

Ñāṇa wrote:it's important to understand what the compilers of the Pāḷi Tipiṭaka considered to be important and necessary dhammas which must be present and functional for attainment of the noble path.


In such a case, bhikkhus, the declaration of such a bhikkhu is neither to be received with approval nor with scorn. Without approval and without scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word, one should trace them in the Discourses and verify them by the Discipline. If they are neither traceable in the Discourses nor verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is not the Blessed One's utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it.


There is a contradiction here.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby cooran » Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:28 am

cooran wrote:Rather than starting a thread on DhammaWheel, why don’t you simply contact Patrick and discuss your perceptions/reservations with him?
.......
Ñāṇa wrote: Kearney is free to teach whatever he wants, and you're free to follow what he's teaching. I have no interest in following what he is advocating. According to DN 16 anyone following the Buddha's dispensation should reject any teaching by any teacher which are not in accord with the dhammavinaya:
...........
Geoff

So … rather than so easily discussing your misunderstanding/misrepresentation of his article and point of view, you’d rather continue with this disparaging thread in a Dhamma-Free-For-All forum. Sensing a little Atimāna here?

metta and karuna,
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Re: Patrick Kearney is not teaching the Pāḷi Dhamma

Postby Nyana » Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:39 am

cooran wrote:So … rather than so easily discussing your misunderstanding/misrepresentation of his article and point of view,

I'm not misrepresenting anything. I quoted exactly what Kearney has taught in the OP.

cooran wrote:you’d rather continue with this disparaging thread in a Dhamma-Free-For-All forum.

People are free to teach or practice whatever they want. But when what they are teaching or practicing is a misrepresentation of the dhamma then this is worth mentioning. There is no shortage of people misrepresenting the Pāḷi Dhamma. For example, The Dharma Overground.

cooran wrote:Sensing a little Atimāna here?

Whatever you are sensing is the product of your own perception. I've given the reason why what he is teaching should be rejected. DN 16:

    In such a case, bhikkhus, the declaration of such a bhikkhu is neither to be received with approval nor with scorn. Without approval and without scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word, one should trace them in the Discourses and verify them by the Discipline. If they are neither traceable in the Discourses nor verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is not the Blessed One's utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it.

All the best,

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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby Nyana » Wed Apr 20, 2011 9:45 am

daverupa wrote:
Ñāṇa wrote:it's important to understand what the compilers of the Pāḷi Tipiṭaka considered to be important and necessary dhammas which must be present and functional for attainment of the noble path.


In such a case, bhikkhus, the declaration of such a bhikkhu is neither to be received with approval nor with scorn. Without approval and without scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word, one should trace them in the Discourses and verify them by the Discipline. If they are neither traceable in the Discourses nor verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is not the Blessed One's utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it.


There is a contradiction here.

No contradiction. Show us one sutta which states that the noble path is attained without perception, or that this attainment is devoid of joy, non-carnal pleasure, directed thought, evaluation, and singleness of mind, at the minimum.

All the best,

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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby robertk » Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:30 am

magga and phala moments are highly developed states of wisdom - and are certainly not in any way devoid of perception.
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby Dan74 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 10:58 am

I think it is a good idea to invite Patrick Kearney to comment. If his teachings have been misunderstood or misrepresented, everybody would benefit from a clarification.
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Re: Concerning Kearney's "Development of Insight"

Postby Nyana » Wed Apr 20, 2011 11:08 am

Dan74 wrote:I think it is a good idea to invite Patrick Kearney to comment. If his teachings have been misunderstood or misrepresented, everybody would benefit from a clarification.

His teachings haven't been misrepresented. He explicitly states:

    He did not "know" this while it was happening, because there was no sense of a mind to know it.

If Kearney want's to align what he is teaching with the Pāḷi Dhamma then he should publicly retract this pernicious view. He should also have The Development of Insight removed from Buddhanet.

All the best,

Geoff
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